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Historical Omonia win, another €570,000 banked

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Omonia made history with their first-ever win in the group stage in Europe, as the Greens beat Greece’s PAOK Salonica 2-1 on Thursday night in Nicosia.

It was a great night for the Nicosia club, despite the fact it has not made it through to the last 32 of the Europa League after PSV Eindhoven beat Granada FC.

This is the second time Omonia have bagged points in the group after drawing 1-1 again against PAOK, in Greece.

Thursday’s game was won with goals from teenager Andronikos Kakoulis after 9 minutes, and a penalty by 17-year-old Loizos Loizou six minutes from time.

PAOK equalised with a goal by Christos Tzolis after 39 minutes.

Apart from writing history, the club will be cashing a much-needed €570,000 for the victory, keeping it in the black this season.

Omonia’s group stage qualification had brought in another €8 mln, of which €5 mln is a bonus for participating in the Champions League playoffs after being knocked out by Greek opponents Olympiacos Piraeus.

Earnings from the Europa League will be added to money already earned from the club’s Champions League exploits so far.

The club’s exploits so far have garnered €1.2 mln with some €280,000 from the team’s participation in the first preliminary round of the Champions League, €380,000 for the second round, and €480,000 for the third round.

Omonia’s victory has also proven beneficial for Cyprus football, as it keeps the country’s overall club standing in 14th place, which means Cyprus could have two teams playing next year’s Champions’ League, one in the Europa League, and two in UEFA’s third competition to be introduced next year, the Europa Conference League.

Omonia will also receive an improved points coefficient according to its overall performance in European tournaments over the past 10 years.

Omonia had kicked off its European campaign this season after returning to the lucrative Champions League after a decade absence but found its way into the second-tier European competition.

The club, led by coach Henning Stile Berg, a former Manchester United player and Norwegian international, knocked out Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League reaching the playoffs for the first time in its 72-year history.

The team reached the UCL playoffs after beating Ararat Armenia, Legia Warsaw and Red Star Belgrade.

Omonia entered Europe’s elite tournament after awarded first place in the league but not the title when last season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Victory over PAOK will the give the team a boost in the league, as it comes just days before the Greens face fierce rivals APOEL FC.

Currently, neither team has been performing well.

Omonia kicked-off the season as one of the favourites for the title but now lies in seventh place, nine points behind the leaders Anorthosis, while APOEL is 10 points behind.

Odds on Omonia to win the championship are now 7/1 and APOEL is 8/1.

Omonia’s fortunes revived after being taken over by millionaire Stavros Papastavrou, in 2018 pledging to invest more than €30 mln.

The New York-based investor made good on his word from day one saving Omonia by directly injecting €1.5 mln, crucial to pass UEFA’s financial criteria, which the club could not have met otherwise.

He also absorbed €9.5 mln of the club’s €15 mln debt, promising the football team will receive €5 mln every year for transfers and the payroll.